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  1. Have a look at Bledlow on the Risborough to Oxford (single) line. Main building on the down side, only trailing sidings, and level crossing!
  2. Yes, I have long thought that the Beyer Garratt was way ahead of other locomotive designs in terms of maximising the loading gauge for fireboxes etc, and ease of bi-directional running.
  3. Can't disagree. The book I was reading was by someone who was in India over the independence period, and was involved in the cement and chemical industries. It was certainly his view that the old boy's network of Brits in the Indian firms ordered from the UK by default. When the main players in these firms were replaced by Indians there was a sea change in procurement. Could be of course, that in a newly independent country there was a feeling that there shouldn't be an automatic continuation of ordering from the UK, and perhaps the sales reps of other countries quite rightly saw opportunities in a market where they had traditionally experienced difficulties in getting a foothold. However I think overall there was a preponderance of UK built stuff in our colonies. Remember visiting North Borneo, for example, and being impressed by the completely UK built steam loco fleet, and Ransomes and Rapier equipment.
  4. Not much to disagree with here, but top link machines would have benefited, and small coal could have been easily supplied to the few sheds those engines were stabled at. Think availability of cheap labour was more of a deciding factor against mechanical stoking than technical constraints (which can normally be solved given the necessity!) As you say, they didn't warrant the cost, even if they may have been desirable from a lot of other perspectives.
  5. Part of the NMH/NIH syndrome (Not Made Here/Invented Here) which pervades most cultures and countries, the USA in particular! Presumably the US railroads would have had to pay a licence fee for using the design as well. Was reading a book about India the other day, and it is clear that the supply of machinery, including railway equipment, was largely determined by the (British) owners and managing engineers of companies using firms of engineers in UK that they were familiar with, rather than sourcing best value or best technology from the rest of the world. This changed dramatically at independence. This largely explains the "success" of British engineering around the former Empire, and in the Commonwealth. (And the UK products were good of course, but there was a lot of other stuff out there in Europe and the States which never even got a look in). But all changed when dieselisation happened, as we were way behind the US development curve, and coinciding with the end of British administration and retirement of British engineers, it started the decline in British manufacturing. (of which there were, of course, many contributory factors....)
  6. I guess I was trying to stimulate debate! Yes, hindsight is a valuable commodity, and as usual there were a few very far sighted folk at the time who saw the way forward. Nothing to disagree with here, and even if they were wasteful, coal was a lot cheaper in the USA. However the point I'm pushing is that, as you say, these were the conditions at the time, but if diesels/electrification had not come along, do we think that the development of the steam locomotive would have stood still and men or women would still be shovelling coal on a footplate? No serious attempts seem to have been made to develop a mechanical stoker that would be effective on smaller grates. Obviously no need while there were people willing to do it, and necessity drives invention a lot of the time. Even Bulleid, a noted innovator, on the Leader class, which had a top notch boiler in thermal efficiency terms, didn't seem to think anything about the crew, who only had access to the firebox from one side of the loco, and whose working conditions were so bad that it dictated that only non-union labour would work them. The issue with having an outside builder design an engine is of course unanswerable with only one of a type. Although the LMS could have, horror of horror, contracted maintenance out to Beyer Peacock and rotated the engines through a service schedule. Or do what the GWR and others did, which was to deal with boilers as a separate item, and have spare chassis and boilers for rolling maintenance. So many what ifs, and, as you say, I wonder what they'll think of us in 100 years (if there's anybody left....)
  7. Have to agree with Lantavian. Beyer-Garratt's worked on some of the most difficult lines in the world, and were incredibly successful as locomotives, and builders. I think there are a few factors at play, and I'm certainly not pretending to speak with any expertise, so I'll be slightly provocative! 1. Interference from the purchasing company, whether LNER or LMS certainly was not helpful in the design phase. BG had been designing effective engines for years, and should have been given an output spec and left to design it. Automatic stokers were an obvious thing to have put in. 2. Despite what has been said above, loco men seemed very conservative about engines from other lines, or maybe just anything that was different. Occasionally it went the other way: I recall a LMS driver saying what a revelation it was driving a GW pannier and not having to use a Jinty. The pannier in his view was far superior. But this seems to have been an exception. The will to succeed is probably outweighed by the desire to prove things don't work (there was some evidence of this with the SR Leader class according to Kevin Robertson). Therefore no incentive to make things work: if a crew had been offered £500 to make a success of the engine for a year you might have seen some improvement in performance! 3. Autocratic designers seemed to take little thought for the men driving the machines: the whole history of the locomotive cab shows this. 4. Resistance to any new developments that would make life easy: power stoking, standard on US railways for large engines, was never highly regarded; use of generators for light etc; roller bearings on locos. Also the dreadful working conditions in most steam sheds were a disgrace in terms of health and safety, although the newer sheds were getting better, and the very slow introduction of colour signalling and ATC. Many of these developments were discussed in detail and dismissed on what seems very light pretexts, although cash was probably at the bottom of a lot of them. Steam stokers in particular were something which should have been developed. I know there was a "macho" aspect to shovelling 6 tons of coal in eight hours or whatever, but it was interesting how quickly engine men decided that riding a cab on a diesel was infinitely preferable, to the extent that it was often difficult to find a steam crew when the changeover to diesel was in progress! So probably there are a range of factors: it was not a very successful machine mechanically because of input rather than output specification; there was little thought given to the men who would be operating it eg in terms of extra pay or better breathing equipment; and there was resistance to anything new or from "over there", and there was no lateral thinking about how buffering up etc could be better done using electric communication (a shock absorbing intermediate vehicle wouldn't have been too difficult to design I wouldn't have thought.......)
  8. The only time I travelled on this was later on in the 1960's, from Euston by then. Was going to Portmadoc, but there were NO refreshment facilities on the train at all...... we had to dash out to a nearby cafe to grab whatever they had. And they say they were the good old days!
  9. Yes, Three bridges should really be two as you say! Remember it well. There was a very heavy traffic load from the Docks at Brentford, even in the early sixties. I have a couple of pictures somewhere, so will see if I can dig them out. It was used muchly for testing AEC railcars from Southall, and many of the publicity pictures of them were done there (as is probably in the references above).
  10. As Nearholmer has said, a lot of branch lines used pretty much the same class of engine for years at a time, particularly if used as part of an auto train. LT's Brill branch used No 23 for years!
  11. The problem I found when modelling a similar situation in my garage is what sort of access do you want for your trains to a circuit or fiddle yard? If a bridge cut off/scenic break is being used, and 36" radius curve beyond it, you have immediately lost three feet of your station space. Also think about signalling, and whether or not the block sections, if any, are a realistic length. Best of luck! Remember Weymouth in the '60s, and would make a great model with unlimited space!
  12. Following my previous post, I attach some pictures. There are a lot more knowledgeable people on this topic than me, but I think I am right in saying that parcels vehicles were common user after 1948, so you could expect to see, and did see, all sorts on parcels trains. The following pictures were all taken about 1961 to 1962 in the London area. There is only one of a parcels train on the line you are particularly interested in, at Bourne End. The vehicles comprise BR GUV's, both long and short, SR utility vans, again, long and 4 wheel; siphon G's, internal framed (external framed were a bit scarce by then in my recollection), Gresley full brakes, LMS 50ft full brakes, Hawksworth full brakes; Churchward full brakes; Collet full brakes; BR Mk 1 full brakes; Fruit D's; fitted goods vans; an old LMS brake 3rd. I also have records of LMS Luggage and Parcel Van ( to D1870, ie 42ft Parcel Utility Vehicle) and LMS CCT vans. I think all of these are commercially available, so no need to kit build! I also think that you could pretty much put any sort of parcels van in a train of that time, so long as the livery matches the period. Most newer vehicles, and those used in passenger trains were often shiny maroon. The rest were grime colour!
  13. Can't imagine they were much different to those used in the rest of the London area. I have a few pictures of parcels trains at that time so will dig them out in the next couple of days and post them here.
  14. You may be interested in Tony Cooke's Track Layout Diagrams of the Great Western Railway: Taunton and West Somerset Section 16 Cooke, R.A. which is available here: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/products/isbn/9781871674057?cm_sp=bdp-_-ISBN10-_-PLP They give all the details, and, more importantly, the dates of changes.
  15. Yes, the 117's had the toilet in the middle coach, and it was a welcome change when they were introduced, as before that the compartment stock, eg on the Western Region services out of Paddington, had no toilets at all. But has been mentioned, you had to make sure to sit in the centre car of the three car set, as there were no gangways originally. They came in quite soon after though. 121s/122s often replaced GWR single unit railcars or auto-trains, none of which ever had toilets, so no change there.
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